Wednesday, May 31, 2006

53,651 and The Valley

Most of you poor souls reading this (poor, of course, because you're reading this) probably have no idea the significance of the number 53,651, and that's my point.

53,651 is the number of people subscribed to Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch, a popular tech-talk blog, as Josh Kopelman pointed out in his Red Eye VC blog a few weeks ago. Josh, a Philly-based VC, goes on to wonder just how big the chasm is between Silicon Valley and, well, the rest of the world.

His point struck a chord with me, as a (unfortunate) member of both coasts, depending on time of year. But it didn't really hit home until dinner that night, when I asked my Dad about his feelings on Web 2.0 and such. His answer: "yeah, I've been wondering, what is that really?" Wow. I knew that Web 2.0 was a geek-only thing, but since when was my Dad less of a geek than me?

So this chasm exists. And it's huge. Just how big? As we ooh and ahh over others' brilliant new start ups and plot our own, the least coast is only now realizing what craigslist and stubhub are. It's not really a bad thing: if everyone had our enthusiasm, we'd be in the middle of another bubble before we knew it. But it does seem that their mass adoption takes longer than necessary, largely due to the cultural divide between here and there.

The question then becomes, how do we bridge the gap? We must, because we know, we see it coming. Web 2.0. The 2nd revolution. We get it. We just need to expedite the process of the slower ones catching up since, ultimately, we're going to need their business.

So what to do. There is definitely not one right answer. I think, above all, the trick will be to keep it simple, especially early on. We need to make sure we're not getting too far ahead of ourselves because it will take time for mass adoption to catch up. But then again, what do I know?

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